Being healthy and fit is something most people would love to be and many of us today are striving to be in the best shape we can be. There are numerous health benefits to being in shape such as having stronger bones, increased energy and vitality, which allows us to live a fuller and longer life. Exercise strengthens our muscles and body structure, which allows us to develop an aesthetically appealing body, improve our performance in sport and our ability to function in everyday tasks. The ability to subjectively quantify health is not an easy feat and it poses the question – How do we know if we are in shape?
Today, I am going to write about the nine signs you can look out for as a measure of your level of fitness and what you can do to improve your situation.
1. You walk up the stairs and feel out of breath –
This is something that infrequent exercisers are well aware of and it isn’t a good feeling to have when you walk up the stairs and feel exhausted from a few short steps. Being able to walk up the stairs should be a basic everyday requirement to function in life.
The solution: If you struggle with this feat, then I suggest that tomorrow before you do anything else that you walk up and down the stairs once. On day two do it twice and day three do it three times adding one count for everyday for a whole month. This is not only improving your fitness, but it will improve your metabolism too.
2. You feel tired most of the time –
This is a common theme that new clients come to me with. Being tired means that we are not able to function to our full capacity, but it also means we cannot enjoy life to the full, as we are constantly negotiating with our bodies for energy to get through the day.
The solution: I recommend exercising for an hour three – five times per week if you can. If you can’t manage this, manage what you can and keep your activity levels consistent. It is better to workout three times per week for thirty minutes for a year than exercising intensely for three months. A mix of weight training, bodyweight exercises and cardiovascular workouts such as cycling will do your energy levels wonders.
3. You feel more tired than usual after a workout –
It is natural to feel some tiredness after a workout and you may feel a little sore the next day; however, it pays to be aware of being reasonably tired and sore and not being able to get out of bed or move the next morning. It is natural to ache after a workout, but you shouldn’t be exhausted upon waking. If you do, one possible reason is that you have depleted your glycogen stores which are your primary energy source.
The solution: Consume a mix wholegrain carbohydrates from sweet potato, oats, and lean proteins from fish, beef or poultry after every workout to give you the best chance for a speedy recovery.
4. You frequently pick up niggling injuries –
A well structured and well planned workout has many benefits for the human body and mind however if you are not careful or you don’t have a suitable fitness plan in place then you may be at risk of picking up minor yet irritating injuries and knocks that can be easily avoided.
The solution: Warm up sufficiently. Workout specific warm ups are best, so if you are about to perform a chest session with a lot of push exercises, then you can start off with a few warm up sets of the same movements with minimal weight. This will tune in your central nervous system and allow your muscles to switch on in preparation for what you are about to do.
5. You used to look better in the mirror –
Most people will look at themselves in the mirror everyday usually in the morning. If you do this you will only see minimal changes good or bad from the day before. You may know in your mind that you used to look better, but you don’t have a recollection of what you actually used to look like.
The solution: Take regular photos perhaps fortnightly or monthly at the same time and day of the week to gain an accurate measure of progress or hindrance in your physical development. This will motivate you to do better once you can see the state of your reality and give you an accurate measure of progress, so you have no doubts as to how well you’ve done.
6. You have a hard time carrying your shopping bags –
Being able to carry your shopping is vital to your life. If you buy a lot of food and you can’t carry it home or at least to your car, then you aren’t going to get very far when it comes to eating it.
The solution: Functional training means replicating movement patterns that are purposeful to your sport or everyday life. In the gym you can replicate the movement of carrying weights in your hands with heavier weights than you are used to for less time. This will improve your grip strength and endurance, which are vital for lifting things.
7. You rely on caffeine to get you through your morning –
Coffee and energy drinks are very popular amongst city workers these days. These can be useful and beneficial when used in moderation, but most people become reliant on these stimulants and can’t function without them.
The solution: Keep your intake down to one cup or can a day or completely stop altogether if you can, whilst avoiding having anything after four hours of waking up. Why not check out some smoothie recipes, specifically designed to help you quite drinking coffee?
8. You have an abnormally low appetite –
A low appetite is often a sign of a slow metabolism, which means your body is not producing as much energy as it is capable. This can make it difficult to create a great body, an efficient day and a healthy mindset, because we rely on the contents of our food to give us the relevant vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we require.
The solution: Try and eat frequently and a little bit more than you are used to. Digestion is a form of burning calories that most people are aware of, so the more food you eat, the more calories your body naturally expends. Ever wondered why some people can’t stop eating and can’t gain weight yet others who starve or under feed themselves retain excess fat in certain places?
9. Your performance in the bedroom suffers –
Sex is an important part of life and it is incredibly fulfilling. It also releases the love hormone oxytocin, which is released through physical contact with someone we are attracted to, and as a result a natural high is released. An unfit body means your sexual performance will suffer, because you and your partner won’t feel satisfied.
The solution: Perform kettlebells, hip bridges, prone rollouts and dead lifts, as these target the relevant muscle groups used in the hip actions during sex. This will build endurance as well as increasing strength, giving you the chance you have the best you’ve ever had.
To sum up today’s topic, exercise of any kind is beneficial to everyone but some exercises work well for different people depending on their needs, wants and current reality therefore once you have mastered these nine solutions I recommend seeking out the services of a personal trainer to take you to the next stage of your fitness and revamp your life.